The 2011 Hyundai Sonata recently became one of just two cars to receive the highest possible rating'”an overall "five star" performance'”as part of this year's more rigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-testing procedures.
Said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: 'With our upgraded Five-Star Safety Ratings System, we're raising the bar on safety. Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.'?
The revised New Car Assessment Program testing regime now includes results for side pole-crash testing, analysis of crash-prevention technologies and testing done with crash dummies designed to represent women as well as men. In addition, vehicles now receive an Overall Vehicle Score that's based on the results from NHTSA's frontal crash, side crash and rollover resistance tests, which are then compared to the average risk of injury and rollover incidents in other vehicles.
To illustrate how these new, higher safety standards affect vehicle ratings, consider that a full 33 vehicles went through the first round of the new NHTSA testing and only the Sonata and the BMW 5 Series received a five-star Overall Vehicle Score.
Helping the 2011 Sonata to achieve these results are a comprehensive suite of safety systems that includes electronic stability control, six standard airbags (including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side-curtain airbags), active front-seat head restraints, shingle-style, rear-seat head restraints, three-point seatbelts for all occupants, front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, and the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system, developed to secure child seats. Also notable are the Sonata's wide range of crash-avoidance technologies. As mentioned, such features are now a key part of NHTSA testing, with NHTSA administrator David Strickland saying, "We want consumers to embrace these new safety technologies as a way to make vehicles safer."
The Sonata goes a long way toward meeting that challenge through systems like its cutting-edge braking package. This system offers four-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock braking with brake assist'”to ensure maximum braking force during a panic stop'”and electronic brake-force distribution'”which senses different driving conditions to automatically adjust brake force between the Sonata's front and rear axles.
'The Sonata nameplate has historically raised the bar for safety in the mid-size sedan category, dating back to the introduction of standard Electronic Stability Control on the 2006 Sonata,'? said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. 'The 2011 Sonata furthers our commitment to safety with a suite of equipment and third-party test results that are unsurpassed in the category.'?